How to Have Your Team’s Back in the Face of Public Embarassment

How to support your team as a leaderIt took 16 hours for a project that Microsoft, no doubt taking a significant amount of time to develop, to completely implode. Microsoft created a bot named Tay that they released on Twitter and it took hackers, and others, less than a day to turn the bot into a racist, hate spewing machine.

When things go sideways on Twitter, it escalates fast. When you run a company like Microsoft, the reaction magnifies. This is embarassing right? Maybe something like this has happened to your business.

This is the kind of situation where a leader can show what they are made of. Leaders will show their true heart in the face of adversity. Many leaders would have cast blame, fired people and expressed public outrage.

The Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, did the exact opposite. This is part of a message that he sent his team:

“Keep pushing, and know that I am with you … (The) key is to keep learning and improving.”

Here’s what you can learn from this leadership exchange:

1. Take responsibility and learn from it: We all screw up. This was not the outcome that anyone on the team was looking for. Now that the issue has come up. What can be learned from the situation that can be used for good in the future.

2. This is the only was to play it if you truly want an empowered team: If you want your team to play inspired, creative, and bold, then insulate them in a way that fosters this sort of behavior. Don’t kill people for mistakes and let the team know that you have their back.

What can you do differently in the management of mistakes in your business? What sort of impact would a positive change to your approach make in your business?

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